I’ve just returned home from judging an elementary school History Fair. It was wonderful to see so many students who cared about history. Two even included some food. Apples for the teacher for a project on education and chocolates for a project on Laura Secord.
However, I’m now tired so I selected a quick and easy recipe from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. This recipe for Cheese Straws was contributed by Mrs. C. Everett Hoffman.
I tried to work in the teaspoon of butter into the 1/2 cup of flour. I then grated 3 tablespoons of medium cheddar cheese and added the salt and cayenne pepper. Finally the medium egg mixed in to make a soft ball of yellow coloured dough. I rolled it out as thin as I dared and then started cutting the “straws”. I placed them on a greased cookie sheet and baked them in a 350 degree F. oven for around 7 minutes. They might have browned a bit more if I left them in a little longer but I was afraid they’d burn or become hard as rocks. This recipe makes exactly enough to fill an average size baking sheet.
Wilhelmine (Minnie) Pattison married Charles Everett Hoffman in 1888 becoming Mrs. C. Everett Hoffman. In 1901 C. Everett is 36 and Minnie is 32. The couple is Church of England (Anglican) and of Scottish heritage. He is a druggist and later a manufacturer but while travelling died of diabetes in 1910 just a few years after the cook book was published. They lived at 117 Queen St. N and in the 1911 census the newly widowed Minnie Hoffman lives with a housekeeper in the same location. Fortunately Mrs. Hoffman is listed as having an income.
I removed the cheese straws immediately from the baking sheet to avoid having them stuck to the pan with “cheese glue”. I tasted a warm cheese straw and a cool cheese straw. They are okay but I think I’ve tasted better. Perhaps I mixed the dough too much as they were a little tough. The flavour is nice as the cayenne pepper gives it a little zest. Otherwise they are a bit bland. They are usually intended to be eaten with something else so I think they would go nicely with a salad or soup. There are other recipes for cheese straws in the cook book so eventually I’ll compare them and select my favourite. In the meantime this is a great recipe to try with kids since it is quick and simple and results in an interesting snack.
1 teaspoon butter, 1 egg, 1/2 cup flour, 3 large tablespoons grated cheese, a pinch of salt, and a small pinch of cayenne pepper. Work the butter into the flour, add the cheese and seasoning, make into a paste with the egg, roll into a very thin sheet and cut into strips 1/4 inch wide and 4 inches long. Bake a light brown in a moderate oven.